Southern Spain and Northern Morocco are rightly famous for art, architecture, history, monuments, and markets. However, the ultimate highlight will be your experience in these two countries. You can feel part of a city, celebrate the idiosyncrasy, and experience the culture and traditions that continue to thrive. Handcrafted for the curious traveler, this two-week luxury tour uses insider guides to truly explore the cities of Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada, Seville, Chefchaouen, Meknes, Fes...
Madrid – The Laid-Back Capital of Spain
Madrid is a laid-back capital city where so much of the city is only accessible on foot. Cobblestone lanes are dotted with tapas bars, seductive architecture is far from motor vehicles, and cafe terraces open out onto pedestrian alleyways rather than car parks. Touch down in Spain’s capital and your hotel will be in the heart of the old quarter. Just take a few steps outside and you will feel the atmosphere of the city, from the terraces that beckon to the style of the Plaza Mayor. The atmosphere gets particularly lively in the evenings when the locals wander around and you can relax on the al fresco terraces.
Madrid – Fascinations and Captivations of the Old City
This two-week luxury tour is all about the local experience and your first full day will epitomize the style of travel. Meet your guide at the hotel and start your tour the Spanish way with a coffee on the terrace. You’ll take a stroll through the old quarter and cruise past the historical treasures that make Madrid so unique. Explore St. Michel’s Market and walk along Cava de San Miguel, listen to the stories at the Plaza Mayor, admire the monumental fountains, and pass the women nattering away in regal parks.
The exact route is customizable, and the Spanish have a more relaxed attitude to time. Rather than cram in attractions, slowing the pace down enables you to experience more of the little details, including chocolate and churros, different palatial styles, townhouses of color and charm. You’ll spend a few hours exploring in the morning before a quiet afternoon, and then a vibrant evening on a tapas crawl through the old city.
Madrid – Unmissable Icons: The Prado and the Palace
Today, you’ll explore the icons, the legends of Madrid that are unrivaled anywhere in the world. Spend the morning at the Prado, where remarkable collections of fine art include hundreds of masterpieces, from El Greco to Velazquez and Goya, then Raphael, Rubens, and the Flemish artists. Then, enjoy lunch at a superb local restaurant before you explore Europe’s largest royal palace. With more than 3000 rooms, you will need an insider guide. A local will know where the treasures hide, including the 17Th-century pharmacy rooms, vintage library shelves, gold gilded décor, chandeliers that glisten above marble, and priceless art. The evening will be at your leisure, and the guide can recommend a wide range of restaurants, from fine dining establishments to local favorites.
Madrid – Enchanting Toledo Day Trip
Toledo is a city of spires, a city of art, and a city that has hardly changed since the medieval era. It’s a brief train ride from Madrid and your local guide will meet you at the station. The art of El Greco provides a foundation for you to explore, as a delightful walking trail weaves through the World Heritage center. Step into churches with flamboyant stained glass windows, marvel at how Moorish design evolved over the centuries, discover vintage stores down backstreets, and listen to the cathedral bells that chime on the hour. In Toledo, you will step back in history and it’s not just the monuments, it’s the feeling of being transported to a specific time and place.
Cordoba – Seductive Highlights of the Moors
A high-speed train slices across Central Spain and quaint villages stand abandoned on the plains while the odd castle rises on the hilltops. It’s just over two hours to Cordoba, a city established by the Moors more than 1000 years ago. The Call to Prayer rings out, which leads you to the oldest mosque in Europe. A 14th-century castle crumbles evocatively in the heart of the city. Alleyways blend 800-year-old design with the subculture graffiti of today. This is a city only understood by locals, where you can easily visit the postcard attractions but can only truly experience the city by visiting the small neighborhoods around the outskirts. You will have a private guide for the afternoon and there will be plenty of time to stop at the cafes and discuss history, as Cordoba’s story more complex than almost anywhere else in Europe.
Cordoba – Evocative Granada Day Trip With the Alhambra
The Alhambra isn’t a building but a complex. It feels like its own city, a majestic ode to the great pre-medieval civilization whose culture created artisanal products. Today’s full-day trip will take you to Granada where the Alhambra will be the focus of the morning. Decipher the calligraphy, stand amid a jungle of pillars, embrace the serenity, and discover a building that is as surreal as it is sublime. There’s more to the last stronghold of the Moors though. Your afternoon will reveal marketplaces and magical alleyways, elegiac plazas and the enchantment of a city that always valued the ornamental. Back in Cordoba you’ll find a city with a calming evening atmosphere, from the squares lit by lanterns to the cuisine influenced by North Africa.
Seville – Free Morning and Flamenco Performance in Seville
This morning, you’ll take breakfast on your balcony and watch how slowly the city comes to life. Slow your footsteps and admire the details that hide along the alleyways. Exotic smells mingle all around and you can hear the sounds drift through the old quarter. Take the train to Seville and the afternoon will be at your leisure, a chance to get to know one of Europe’s largest historical cities. Energetic and enchanting, this old city is where the atmosphere of Andalusia is intensified. No experience is more Andalusian than a flamenco performance.
You will marvel at the twirling dresses, the stamping feet, and the mournful guitar that plucks with improvisation. You don’t need to know Spanish to follow the songs, as there is such expression in every poetic story that is delivered. You can feel the emotion and you can sense the fire, as flamenco is an iconic insight into the culture of Southern Spain. Dinner will be served during the performance and local sherry is an aperitif.
Seville – Legends and Legacy of the Fiery City
Seville’s history could fill many volumes. On a full-day tour you will travel through the charms and the contrasts, and explore the centuries that have defined this gem in the south. Marvel at the Seville Cathedral and find the tomb of Columbus, trace the architectural legacy across the Real Alcazar, gaze up at Giralda Tower, then get lost in the old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz. Like all destinations on this tour, the brilliant sights are complemented by the authenticity of the city. There’s a spirit that pervades everything, a sense of ebullience that is quick to pick you up and carry you away. One unexpected pleasure of Seville and Andalusia is how little time you need to enjoy the ambiance. Even with just a couple of days, you can get a great feel for these destinations, especially when you have insider guides.
Tangier – Rural Pleasures of Andalusia and Into Morocco
Calmness reigns in the Pueblos Blancos, the whitewashed Moorish villages that cling to the mountaintops across Andalusia. History stands still, as crumbling white townhouses seem to vibrate when church bells ring. You’ll stop at two or three of these villages on route to Tarifa, the southern port town. From here you take a ferry across the Straight of Gibraltar to Tangier, a city that has been enchanting writers for centuries. Edgy and gritty, it’s a city where so many ideas and atmospheres mingle in a small space. For a first-time visitor to Morocco this can be surprising. With an insider guide you’ll discover the magic of this city that so many writers have attempted to describe, including Hemingway.
Day 10 - 11
Chefchaouen – The Seductive Blue City in the Hills
The following day, you’ll get lost in the beauty of Chefchaouen. The challenge is that all the buildings are painted blue. Different shades of blue, from turquoise to teal, cyan, and sapphire, but not in any order that makes sense. There’s a legend associated with why they are painted and the guide will explain on your orientation tour. Then it’ll be up to you to figure a way around the city. It’s not so much a maze as an enchanting tangle of streets that twist and turn across the mountainside.
This time will allow you to settle into the rhythm of Northern Morocco and enjoy your own little city adventure. Chefchaouen is probably the most relaxed town in the whole country so you can take your time and enjoy wandering the city. Walk into the surrounding mountains and feel the vitality of the north. Women sell fresh fruit on the steps, mosques send out euphonic calls, sweet mint tea is served on terraces, and it’s impossible not to be seduced by one of Morocco’s lesser-known treasures.
Fes – Roman Ruins and an Outstanding Artisanal City
This morning, you weave across the hills of Northern Morocco, passing olive groves and colorful fruit plantations. Your first destination will be Volubilis, a set of dramatic Roman ruins that stand isolated on fields of green. It’s an entire city, with streets leading past roofless homes and ancient mosaics faded on the stone. Then, spend the afternoon in Meknes, the city of the artisans, where art was always protected because you never had to pay tax on artisanal products. Every door will be sublime in its detail, there’s a harmony of pastel colors that adds magic to every street, and the marketplaces lead down narrow alleyways to ornate schools and mosques. You’ll meet some of the artisans and get a chance to explore a style that is so distinctive to Meknes as the design that most people associate with Morocco is most typically from Meknes. Fes is just an hour away and you’ll arrive in the early evening, perfect time for a drink on a terrace that overlooks the world’s largest walled city.
Fes – The World’s Largest Medieval Walled City: Expect to be Enchanted
Walking around Fes on your last full day in Morocco will be an adventure. Stalls spill their goods into walkways barely wide enough for the donkeys and camels that plod through. Alleyways twist at random angles, then curl without you knowing until it’s impossible to know which way is out. The world’s largest walled city doesn’t pretend to be clear. Constructed organically, it’s a twisting world of sounds and smells and steps, where it’s just as easy to feel discombobulated as enchanted. Having a local guide is essential and you’ll spend the day discovering the wonderful assortment of sights that grace this legendary destination in Northern Morocco.
Fes – Departure
Fes has a recently redeveloped international airport and you depart after two weeks of exploring the best of Southern Spain and Northern Morocco. Dependent on flight times you may be able to go shopping in the souks before departure.
- Take a journey through the architecture of civilizations and centuries, from royal palaces to Moorish mosques, and the artisanal beauty of Meknes
- Settle into the rhythm and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of three distinctive regions, including Madrid, Andalusia, and Northern Morocco
- Escape into a series of very unique urban landscapes, including the blue town of Chefchaouen and the medieval bliss of Toledo
- Get to know the culture and traditions of Southern Spain and Northern Morocco, where a flamenco performance and local souks will be just the start of your discovery
- Marvel at the scale of the history in Seville and Fes, cities that have some of the world’s largest old quarters
- Discover more than 2000 years of history, from the Roman ruins of Volubilis to the Alhambra
- Explore the art and the artisanal styles, from a visit to the Prado Museum to meeting the designers in Morocco’s souks
- Mix the renowned highlights with a series of local attractions revealed by your insider guides as Seville, Cordoba, Madrid and Fes have much more than the postcard experiences
When you receive a postcard from Southern Spain or Northern Morocco, the image is surreal. Granada’s Alhambra has such intricacy and history etched into every vaulted archway. You’ll pass through a blue entrance gate into the walled city of Fes and marvel at the Seville Cathedral or the ruins of Volubilis. These two regions are packed with monuments and mesmerizing sights. Over the two weeks, this luxury tour will ensure you get to see the best of them. More than sightseeing, these regions are all about experiences. You’ll never forget a flamenco performance, the sounds and smells of a souk, mazy pathways painted in blue, and a trail through the artwork of El Greco. With local and knowledgeable guides, this two-week luxury tour highlights the experiential, showing how the best of Southern Spain and Northern Morocco involve more than the famous sights.
You’ll arrive in Madrid, which isn’t technically part of Southern Spain, but the city makes a great contrast to Andalusia. This will allow you to experience two very different Spanish regions. Your time in the Spanish capital will include icons like the Prado and Palacio Real, along with a tapas crawl, a day trip to Toledo, and the chance to get to know the city with a local. Take the high-speed train to Cordoba to embrace the culture and style of the Moors, from the Alhambra in nearby Granada to the quaint atmosphere of the Pueblos Blancos (White Villages). Then, visit Seville, which embodies the style of this luxury tour with a series of outstanding cultural and historical attractions mixed with local experiences.
You’ll take the ferry to Morocco and spend a night in Tangier, an interesting little town with a unique history. Chefchaouen is a real gem, a seductive town in the hills where everything is painted blue. It’ll be the perfect place to relax and get to know laid-back Moroccan culture. Spend a full day exploring Morocco on your route to Fes, as the Roman ruins at Volubilis are completely different from the artisanal atmosphere of Meknes. You then will stay in the world’s largest walled city, where all five of your senses will tune into the local rhythm and style. Finally, Fes has a new international airport for your departure.
Zicasso offers a variety of Spain and Morocco tours. Be sure to browse the trips reviews for Spain and Morocco.
$3,243 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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